Health care seeking behaviour is any action undertaken by individuals who perceive to have a health problem or to be ill for finding an appropriate remedy. It involves recognition of symptoms, perceived nature of illness, followed initially by appropriate home care and monitoring. In Ethiopia, little is known about mother’s health care seeking behaviour on neonatal danger signs. Therefore, this study assessed the health care seeking behaviour on neonatal danger signs among mothers in Tenta district, Northeast Ethiopia. Community based cross-sectional study was conducted from October 23 to November 17, 2015. The study district was stratified into urban and rural kebeles. From each stratum, 1 out of 3 urban and 7 out of 25 rural kebeles were selected by simple random sampling technique. A total of 527 mothers were interviewed using structured and pre-tested questionnaire. The data were checked for missing values and outliers, and analysed using SPSS version 20.0. Logistic regression analyses were employed to see the association between dependent and independent variables. Mothers who sought medical care for neonatal danger signs were 167 (41.3%). Mothers’ secondary educational level (AOR=4.64, 95% CI=1.1-19.81), have given birth in health center (AOR=3.35, 95% CI=1.31-8.56), practicing optimal thermal care (AOR=2.52, 95% CI=1.08-5.85), and having higher decision-making abilities in seeking neonatal health care (AOR=11.28, 95% CI=4.36-29.22) were significant predictors of mother’s health seeking behaviour towards neonatal danger signs. Long distance of the residence from health facility, experiencing less serious neonatal danger signs, and beliefs that some danger signs were caused by evil spirits were the most common reasons cited by mothers who did not seek neonatal medical care. In this study, more than half of mother’s did not seek medical care for neonatal danger signs. Maternal education and improving their decision-making abilities, and promoting institutional delivery are the recommended interventions to improve mother’s health care seeking for neonatal illness. Health facilities should integrate essential neonatal care service during ANC and PNC follow up to improve the quality of health information about neonatal danger signs. At the community level, health extension workers should educate mothers about newborn care practices and neonatal danger signs.
Key words: Mothers’ health care seeking behaviour, neonatal danger signs, Tenta district.
ANC, Antenatal care; AOR, adjusted odds ratio; COR, crude odds ratios; OR, odds ratios; CI, confidence interval; HC, health center; SD, standard deviation; NMR, neonatal mortality rate; PNC, post natal care; WHO, World Health Organization.
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